Coney Island’s famed Childs Building is finally getting the respectful renovation it deserves. According to Brokelyn, the historic landmark will be converted into a 5,000-seat, semi-outdoor amphitheater that is expected to open in time for free concerts this summer. The rehabilitation project should bring some much-needed life back to Coney Island and will be seeking LEED Silver certification to boot.
Childs Restaurant opened in 1923 and was the heart of Coney Island for many years. It closed in the 1950s, but the structure was given landmark status in 2003. Now, some thirteen years later, the beloved building is being brought back to life as a performance center with 50-foot-tall barn-like doors that’ll open in the summer months. In the colder months, the doors will be closed and the stage area will be raised to line up with a planned restaurant, making space for a dance floor or general performance area. Once the project is completed, the amphitheater will be adjacent to 40,000 square feet of landscaped open space.
In order to retain the building’s original character, the construction team had to face quite a few challenges. For instance, the lead-based paint that was used on the original facade could not be used today (for obvious reasons). To match the new colors as close to the originals as possible, the team hired a specialist from the Netherlands. Additionally challenging was finding building materials that would fit in with the building’s original construction. Modern bricks have a different consistency, and expand and contract at different rates, so old bricks were shipped in from two demolished buildings in Iowa.
And, of course, a coastal construction like this one had to take into consideration the harsh lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, so the new building is being constructed with a lot of resilient features. Knowing that a wall would not support the force of a severe storm like Sandy, the team incorporated elements that would, instead, accommodate flood waters rushing in and out of the building without causing too much damage. Mold-proof insulation was also used and pipes and electrical outlets were placed higher up than usual in the basement.
Construction is slated to be complete in early summer, with the amphitheater set to open in July. Although the line-up of performances has not yet been disclosed, Live Nation is in charge of bringing the talent to the new venue.
Images via Brokelyn